WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), member of the Senate Banking Committee, questioned Department of Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo on President Biden allowing Russia to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“Nord Stream 2 has been strongly opposed by the European Union Parliament on two votes… It’s hard for me to see much commitment when the president announces just sort of out of the blue the lifting of sanctions on Nord Stream 2, an authority he doesn’t even have,” said Senator Cramer. “The president’s actions were completely unilateral and outside the law. I want to know on whose behalf was he doing it in. I mean the European Union, a multi-national relationship, overwhelmingly opposed completing Nord Stream 2.”
The senator then highlighted the environmental downsides of Russian natural gas via Nord Stream 2, as opposed to American natural gas.
“Natural gas that’s produced in Russia and moved via a pipeline like Nord Stream 2, besides captivating the European allies to a single source, has through the life cycle of that gas a 41% higher greenhouse gas emission footprint than natural gas produced in the United States that is liquified and sent to the same European allies. And that doesn’t even include the methane leakage,” said Senator Cramer. “So I’m trying to wrap my head around what’s the good reason for lifting sanctions?”
Mr. Adeyemo noted the Treasury Department shares the same concerns about Nord Stream 2 and that they share the goal of providing security for key allies. He also highlighted the department’s role in the sanctions is to use the mandatory sanctions authorities given to the department by Congress.
“We have a Secretary of Energy who in North Dakota last week said we, the United States, doesn’t have the moral authority to hold China accountable when they are emitting three times more greenhouse gas emissions than we are,”replied Senator Cramer. “I’m having a heck of a time understanding why we apologize for the United States while covering for China… I’m just concerned when it comes to whose side the [Biden] Administration is on when it comes to our economy and frankly even climate change.”
“President [Biden] believes climate change is a global responsibility,” replied Mr. Adeyemo. “If we make the investments that are needed, we can become a leader in selling American goods.”
The senator countered, noting his support for the United States being a part of the Paris Climate Accord as a way to insert leadership on the world stage and hold adversaries like China accountable.
“I argued to stay in Paris with the [Trump] Administration for those very reasons, but I’m not seeing that kind of leadership anymore. The approval of Nord Stream 2 has multiple bad things about it and I haven’t found one good one, including on whose behalf we facilitated these sanctions,” said Senator Cramer.
Earlier this year the Biden Administration published a plan to allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be completed without fear of action from the United States, a move Senator Cramer described as “a slap in the face for U.S. energy producers and our NATO allies.”
The senator is leading the Protecting Our Well-being by Expanding Russian Sanctions (POWERS) Act, a bill to reinstate and expand the sanctions the Biden Administration is waiving on Russian people and entities involved in the construction of the pipeline. Learn more here.